Joseph Leo Koerner is Victor S. Thomas Professor of the History of Art and Architecture and Senior Fellow of the Society of Fellows at Harvard. His most recent book is Bosch and Bruegel: From Enemy Painting to Everyday Life.
 (May 2019)


In Love with Multiplicity

Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Christ Carrying the Cross, 1564


an exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, October 2, 2018–January 13, 2019

Bruegel: The Master

Catalog of the exhibition by Elke Oberthaler, Sabine Pénot, Manfred Sellink, and Ron Spronk, with Alice Hoppe-Harnoncourt
Close to half a million people saw the huge Bruegel exhibition in Vienna marking the 450th anniversary of the artist’s death. Pieter Bruegel the Elder died on September 9, 1569, but the Kunsthistorisches Museum pushed the show up a year so that lending institutions could celebrate with their Bruegels back on their walls. The exhibition’s slogan, “once in a lifetime,” was true. Never had so many works by this master been shown in one place: some twenty-seven paintings and seventy drawings and prints, more than half of his oeuvre and enough for a lifetime of looking. It is unlikely that any museum will ever be able to assemble such an exhibition again.

First Among Equals

Johannes Vermeer: The Lacemaker, 9 5/8 x 8 1/4 inches, circa 1669–1670

Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry

an exhibition at the Louvre, Paris, February 20–May 22, 2017; the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, June 17–September 17, 2017; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., October 22, 2017–January 21, 2018
On a May morning in 1921 Marcel Proust ventured from his bed, where he spent most of his time, to see an exhibition of Dutch painters at the Jeu de Paume. Organized to demonstrate the modern sensibilities of certain old masters, it had been lavishly praised, including by his friend …

Glories of Classicism

Diego Velázquez: The Rokeby Venus, circa 1648–1651

The Classical Tradition

edited by Anthony Grafton, Glenn W. Most, and Salvatore Settis
Over a thousand pages in length, with some five hundred articles surveying the survival, transmission, and reception of the cultures of Greek and Roman antiquity, The Classical Tradition is a low-cost Wunderkammer, a vast cabinet of curiosities.